The Xiqu Centre, the first major performing arts venue at the West Kowloon cultural hub, has celebrated a milestone after raising and securing its 2,400-tonne main theater.
Elevating the steel structure of the Cantonese opera theater was completed in late February, while the base structure of the main theater was secured earlier this month.
The HK$2.7 billion center is specially designed with the main theater at the top of the building so the space below may be utilized for learning and rehearsals.
Louis Yu Kwok-lit, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority’s executive director of performing arts, said: “The heaviest part of the building is the steel structure of the main theater … which can accommodate 1,100 people. Its raising required a high level of accuracy.”
Located at the junction of Canton Road and Austin Road West, the 13,800-square-meter center has six above-ground levels and two basement levels.
It will have a 1,100-seat main theater, a tea house for 200 people and 2,000 square meters of art education facilities.
Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, also the authority chairman, said the successful raising marks the start of the countdown to the 2018 completion.
Lam said Cantonese opera is a precious traditional art that represents a large variety of cultures in Hong Kong.
She said Rising Stars of Cantonese Opera will be held in August, with performer Law Ka-ying as the curator at Ko Shan Theatre.
Bing Thom, of Bing Thom Architects which designed the center, said its concept is a pavilion with the entrance resembling the curtain of a theater stage. Its courtyard will serve as a stage for public performances.
Yu said the ground floor of the center will serve as an entrance to different areas of the hub and the tea house doubles as a small-scale theater.
“The floating design allows people to join various activities on the first and second floors. The audience and experts can watch the performance on the fourth and fifth floors,” Yu said.
The authority’s chief executive, Duncan Pescod, said: “Progress is steady as it should be. This is not just about building a building, but also building the performance and audience.”
Kowloon’s Xiqu Centre nears completion